MOTHERLESS CHILD

It was one of those parties
in that library with archaic shelves
ascending to the trees.
Bertrand Russell came late,

carrying a baby
who spoke like William Blake:
There is a marriage of Heaven and Hell, 
another way to see.

Scholars whispered of the child’s maternity.
Bertie found me where I stood.
This baby needs a mother;  
you, I hope, will be.

I respectfully refused,
but introduced him to
Tante Wanda,
who died at ninety-three

singing “How Great Thou Art.”
She sat him in a kitchen chair
and fed him plum kuchen and coffee,
showed him blue ribbons

from the Arkansas fair,
the dolls she crocheted
to cover toilet paper rolls,
the JESUS signs she made,

a recipe for perfection salad.
Russell kissed her hand.
She took the baby right away–
it spoke again:  O, what a pleasant land. 

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